Eva’s Excerpt July 2021

Those of you who are or have been athletes likely know something about the performance-recovery cycle. Basically, this is the idea that to maximize performance, you need to stress your body intentionally and enough to result in the adaptations it takes to get you to the next level. However, just as important in this cycle is recovery. The stress of the training causes micro-damage that must be recovered from, or that damage continues to accumulate resulting in a degradation in performance or injury. Similarly important are sleep, nutrition and other forms of self-care that support your ability to recover more quickly.

Why am I talking about this? Well, as I look around at each of you (and me), I see a need for recovery. I see it in our faces, body language, and even engagement. We have been training hard for more than a year with few windows of recovery. While we have much still to do to get to our goal outcomes, if we don’t each make time for that recovery, our performance will deteriorate or we will become injured – in the case of work, this manifests as burnout most commonly, or more seriously in people quitting or leaving the industry.

Later this year, we will be hosting the Granger Network back again to talk about performance and recovery at work. While we wait, I thought you might like to read this article by Matt Plummer which talks about performance and the burnout cycle. It describes three kinds of burnout cycles: daily (where you are drained regularly at the end of your workday), weekly (where you do fine day to day but by the end of the week you are spent) and project (where specific kinds of projects or tasks drain you) and offers potential solutions for each.

This idea feels particularly relevant to this COVID transition time where work and life have been transformed and integrated in new ways. We are largely moving to hybrid work in the Office of Education. This means we have both increased flexibility to address our burnout cycles and increased accountability to each other as teammates to communicate it and negotiate it for the benefit of all. This will require a new kind of introspection for us as individuals to understand for ourselves what results in our daily, weekly and project-based burnout, and a new kind of collaboration for us within our work teams. Those of us who are managers and leaders will need to think about this burnout cycle anew and how we prevent it or recognize and address it.

I find this idea both exciting and a little scary. This is our new normal. As we work through it, we must each start by looking at ourselves and then make and execute on plans for recovery. Be well and thank you for all you do to ensure the excellence of our educational mission. I hope you know that I know that included in that is making space for your personal recovery.